“The Chinese Screen”

The folding screen
in the window
of the Chinese art gallery
is small
barely two feet high
four feet wide
bordered in black
top and bottom.

It is striking.
My eyes roam the surface
as I luxuriate
in lush brushwork
sparse black-and white
sensual rhythm
of stems trending right
each ending
in an explosion
of bloom.
My sensibilities
My body responds
to the stimuli.
I must have the screen.

The shop is closed.
I leave town
in the morning.
I write a note
on the back
of my business card.
I try to explain
the depth of my obsession
in twenty-five words
or less.
How can one communicate
a coup de foudre
on the back
of a 2” x 3 ½” card?

I write in rhyme
hoping to appeal
to the owner’s

I slide my dreams
under the door.
I turn to leave.
I catch a glimpse
of movement.
I knock.
No answer.
I wait.
Perhaps there will be
a reply.

I return to the window
for one last glimpse
of the object
of my preoccupation.
A hand materializes.
I fill with hope.
Will it beckon me inside?
Instead it removes
the screen
and replaces it
with a sign.

I leave deflated
knowing that I
will never own
an emotionally-charged
Chinese screen
with explosive
lotus blossoms
atop sensuous
rhythmic stems
in the cold
harsh reality
of black and white.
An image
that is
so reminiscent
of my own life story.

(Written for dVersePoets, “Poetics: ‘Asians are Ugly!'”. May 18, 2013.)

This entry was posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Short Story and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to “The Chinese Screen”

  1. claudia says:

    oh heck…i wish i could paint you one… i wish i could paint one for everyone in the world…great metaphor for the desires and dreams that we have in life that may never come true…ugh.. a felt piece…but hey…take a brush and just start with red and yellow dots on the black and white…then some clouds maybe…it helps…smiles

  2. brian miller says:

    ouch, your close on this is tight with emotion…equating seeing your dream…trying to articulate it and then having it taken away…NFS…whew…agree though perhaps it is time to paint your own..smiles.

  3. This was great writing… a lot of tension. and the end… Great writing, and rythm in this piece…

  4. Mary says:

    Oh, this is heart-breaking. You came SOOOO close to being able to own it. If only, if only it was for sale. If only he had said yes. If only you had been able to convince him. If only you owned the screen today. I empathize with your yearning and with your disappointment. I am sure no other screen would substitute. It was one of a kind, I am sure; but it will live here in your poem. This was one of my favorite poems of todays offerings. Thank you!!

  5. Martin Shone says:

    A very nice poem, full of suspense and heartbreak.

  6. billgncs says:

    I hope your next panel requires a giant screen to hold the details… Very nice VB

  7. Grace says:

    That must have been quite an image ~ Too bad you were not able to have or get it ~ Like you, I sometimes think some things are not for me too ~ Lovely retelling ~

  8. Dave Higgins says:

    The screen is not yours;
    But the idea of the screen
    Has painted much joy.

  9. Kelvin S.M. says:

    ..aww… sadly, when frustrations has to be for life…. or maybe some things are just not meant to be… smiles… loved it! thanks…

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